Technology Deep Dive: How Network Interface Cards (NICs) Work Today

Held on 1230-1345 UTC on 23 July 2019, this session started with a description of how a basic network interface card (NIC) operates and led into NIC feature evolution.

Key Info

The discussion delved into several NIC features starting from fundamental packet IO, leading to incremental offload of packet processing from server processors to modern NIC hardware. The software models described for controlling these NICs center around Linux kernel APIs that were created to take advantage of hardware capabilities. When sensible, the relationship of a feature that a NIC handles will be related to specific IETF activity (e.g., transport, security, nvo3, etc).